Coconuts are produced in 92 countries worldwide on about more than 10 million hectares. Indonesia, Philippines and India account for almost 75% of world coconut production with Indonesia being the world’s largest coconut producer. A coconut plantation is analogous to energy crop plantations, however coconut plantations are a source of wide variety of products, in addition to energy. The current world production of coconuts has the potential to produce electricity, heat, fiberboards, organic fertilizer, animal feeds, fuel additives for cleaner emissions, eco-friendly cutlery, health drinks, etc.
The coconut fruit yields 40 % coconut husks containing 30 % fiber, with dust making up the rest. The chemical composition of coconut husks consists of cellulose, lignin, pyroligneous acid, gas, charcoal, tar, tannin, and potassium. Coconut dust has high lignin and cellulose content. The materials contained in the casing of coco dusts and coconut fibers are resistant to bacteria and fungi.
Coconut biomass is available in the form of coconut husk and coconut shells. Coconut husk and shells are an attractive biomass fuel and are also a good source of charcoal. The major advantage of using coconut biomass as a fuel is that coconut is a permanent crop and available round the year so there is constant whole year supply. Activated carbon manufactured from coconut shell is considered extremely effective for the removal of impurities in wastewater treatment processes.
Coconut shell is an agricultural waste and is available in plentiful quantities throughout tropical countries worldwide. In many countries, coconut shell is subjected to open burning which contributes significantly to CO2 and methane emissions.
Coconut shell is widely used for making charcoal. The traditional pit method of production has a charcoal yield of 25–30% of the dry weight of shells used. The charcoal produced by this method is of variable quality, and often contaminated with extraneous matter and soil. The smoke evolved from pit method is not only a nuisance but also a health hazard.
The coconut shell has a high calorific value of 20.8MJ/kg and can be used to produce steam, energy-rich gases, bio-oil, biochar etc. It is to be noted that coconut shell and coconut husk are solid fuels and have the peculiarities and problems inherent in this kind of fuel.
Coconut shell is more suitable for pyrolysis process as it contain lower ash content, high volatile matter content and available at a cheap cost. The higher fixed carbon content leads to the production to a high-quality solid residue which can be used as activated carbon in wastewater treatment. Coconut shell can be easily collected in places where coconut meat is traditionally used in food processing.
Coconut husk has high amount of lignin and cellulose, and that is why it has a high calorific value of 18.62MJ/kg. The chemical composition of coconut husks consists of cellulose, lignin, pyroligneous acid, gas, charcoal, tar, tannin, and potassium.
The predominant use of coconut husks is in direct combustion in order to make charcoal, otherwise husks are simply thrown away. Coconut husk can be transformed into a value-added fuel source which can replace wood and other traditional fuel sources. In terms of the availability and costs of coconut husks, they have good potential for use in power plants.
The palm kernel shells used to be initially dumped in the open thereby impacting the environment negatively without any economic benefit. However, over time, palm oil mills in Southeast Asia and elsewhere realized their brilliant properties as a fuel and that they can easily replace coal as an industrial fuel for generating heat and steam.
Palm kernel shells is an abundant biomass resource in Southeast Asia
Nowadays, the primary use of palm kernel shells is as a boiler fuel supplementing the fibre which is used as primary fuel. In recent years kernel shells are extensively sold as alternative fuel around the world. Besides selling shells in bulk, there are companies that produce fuel briquettes from shells which may include partial carbonisation of the material to improve the combustion characteristics.
Palm kernel shells have a high dry matter content (>80% dry matter). Therefore the shells are generally considered a good fuel for the boilers as it generates low ash amounts and the low K and Cl content will lead to less ash agglomeration. These properties are also ideal for production of biomass for export.
As a raw material for fuel briquettes, palm shells are reported to have the same calorific characteristics as coconut shells. The relatively smaller size makes it easier to carbonise for mass production, and its resulting palm shell charcoal can be pressed into a heat efficient biomass briquette.
Although the literature on using oil palm shells (and fibres) is not as extensive as EFB, common research directions of using shells, besides energy, are to use it as raw material for light-weight concrete, fillers, activated carbon, and other materials. However, none of the applications are currently done on a large-scale. Since shells are dry and suitable for thermal conversion, technologies that further improve the combustion characteristics and increase the energy density, such as torrefaction, could be relevant for oil palm shells.
Torrefaction is a pretreatment process which serves to improve the properties of biomass in relation to the thermochemical conversion technologies for more efficient energy generation. High lignin content for shells affects torrefaction characteristics positively (as the material is not easily degraded compared to EFB and fibres).
Furthermore, palm oil shells are studied as feedstock for fast pyrolysis. To what extent shells are a source of fermentable sugars is still not known, however the high lignin content in palm kernel shells indicates that shells are less suitable as raw material for fermentation.
The leading palm oil producers in the world should consider limiting the export of palm kernel shells (PKS) to ensure supplies of the biomass material for renewable energy projects, in order to decrease dependency on fossil fuels. For example, many developers in Indonesia have expressed an interest in building palm kernel shell-fired power plants.
However, they have their concerns over supplies, as many producers prefer to sell their shells overseas currently. Many existing plants are facing problems on account of inconsistent fuel quality and increasing competition from overseas PKS buyers. PKS market is well-established in provinces like Sumatra and export volumes to Europe and North Asia as a primary fuel for biomass power plants is steadily increasing.
The creation of a biomass supply chain in palm oil producing countries may be instrumental in discouraging palm mills to sell their PKS stocks to brokers for export to foreign countries. Establishment of a biomass exchange in leading countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria, will also be a deciding factor in tapping the unharnessed potential of palm kernel shells as biomass resource.
Biofuels were once forgotten in the United States, mainly when huge petroleum deposits kept fuel prices low. With the increase in oil prices recently, the biofuel industry in the US is rising significantly. Experts predict that this green energy efficient industry will continue to grow within the next 7 to 10 years.
The Source of Biofuels
Those who are concerned with the prospect of global warming love the potential use of biofuels. Produced either directly or indirectly from used cooking oil, animal waste and plant materials, biofuels are less costly than other types of fuel. Already in the national and global market, the trend for this fuel is rising.
Online Reverse Auction Software
Due to the growth of the biofuel industry, online software for energy brokers and energy suppliers is an available market for entrepreneurs. The software to efficiently sell energy services to purchasers is a must have for suppliers and brokers. The reverse auction process effectively conducts online business for those in the biofuel industry.
Both regulated and deregulated gas and electricity markets are involved in the reverse auction process in which the buyer and seller roles are reversed. The buyer is given the option of testing and evaluating multiple pricing parameters to find a good fit. Commercial, industrial, and manufacturing facilities take advantage of this platform.
Reverse Auction Benefits
Reverse auctions in the biofuel industry have been said to cut costs tremendously. Although the seller pays a fee to the service provider, the bidding process cuts costs all around for both buyer and seller. A situation in which both sides win is seen as a huge benefit by all involved.
As a very lucrative market, the biofuel industry benefits from reverse auctions. Market efficiency is increased, and the process of obtaining the goods and services is enhanced. Proper software and other technical aspects of the process is essential thus the reason that the online reverse auction software market is critical. Quality and professional relationships are enhanced rather than compromised as is often the case in other markets.
Biofuel Market Projections and Uses
According to market research, the biofuel industry is expected to reach approximately 218 billion dollars by 2022. A 4.5% growth is expected by 2022 as well. Investors see these projections as an open door of opportunity. By the year 2025, the increase is predicted to be at approximately 240 billion dollars.
Biofuel is used for other purposes besides first-generation fuel. It is used in vegetable oil and cosmetics, and it is used to treat Vitamin A deficiency and other health issues. Biofuel is predicted to aid the improvement of economic conditions due to its health benefits and appeal to green energy supporters. These factors explain the reasons for the projected growth and profit for this industry.
With the continued growth of the biofuel industry, reverse auctions will be a much-needed process. The efficient software to accompany reverse auctions will keep the market flowing which will further aid the growth of the industry for years to come.
As we go about our daily lives, it’s always a good idea to think about how we can contribute to the community we belong to in tangible and appreciable ways. Improving our communities from the inside not only allows us to make things easier and more convenient for ourselves, but also for the people we meet and rely upon in our day-to-day. Besides this, it also helps us think of other people’s needs rather than just our own—an essential need if we’re to live happy and productive lives. One of the best ways of improving our communities is, of course, going green: the act of adopting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. This means taking active steps to minimize our carbon footprint and reducing waste.
It doesn’t have to start out big—we can start with the smaller things, and work our way up from there. Instead of buying new printer ink cartridges, for example, we can try using compatible ink cartridges instead. These are ink cartridges that are made the same way as new printer ink cartridges, but cost way less to make than branded ones. Instead of throwing away our old or obsolete electronics and electrical goods, we can look into getting them repaired. Another example of that is to refurbish old drones instead of buying new.
By taking up these eco-friendly practices, our communities will become cleaner, more energy-efficient, and much healthier places to live in, alongside other very practical and tangible benefits that everyone will appreciate.
Not convinced? Well, hopefully listing out those benefits in full below will convince you. Read on as we go through all the biggest reasons why going green is the best thing you can do for your community.
A healthier community
Enacting green and eco-friendly practices in your community will have the immediate effect of making it healthier for the individuals who live in it, enabling them to live longer, happier, and more productive lives. This can be considered as the most important benefit, seeing as we can tie so many health conditions and diseases to having an environmentally-negligent lifestyle. By going green, you can avoid these potential risks from taking hold in your community.
For example, recycling and minimizing trash or garbage helps makes your immediate surroundings cleaner and more attractive to look at. This causes disease-carrying pests such as insects and rodents to be driven away from your community, which then results in less people catching those diseases.
Another example is having the vehicles in your community switch to more eco-friendly fuel types will result in cleaner and healthier air, as well as reduce the chances of children and the elderly from getting respiratory diseases. Many companies like popgear use recycled material in their clothing. These and a whole lot more are attainable by going green.
One of the main tenets of going green is to be conservative when it comes to the usage of utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and so on. It goes without saying that using too much of these obviously strains the environment.
For example, the excessive and unnecessary use of electricity when it’s clearly not needed increases the power demand from power plants, which in turn increases the amount of fuel being used to supply that energy. This uses up our remaining fossil fuels at an alarming rate, while also depositing more pollutants into the atmosphere and environment. The same goes for gas and other utilities.
By being smarter and more conscious about using these precious resources in our homes, we can reduce the impact we have on the environment by quite a large degree. It will help ease the strain our environment is currently experiencing in providing us these resources and ensure that they don’t run out as quickly as they would have if we continued being unnecessarily wasteful with our usage.
Besides this, conserving energy and resources also helps us save on our utility bills. Obviously, the less power, water, and gas we use in our day-to-day, the less we’ll be charged when our monthly bills come in. Up to 20% of expanses per household, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, are saved, especially if we adopt changes such as using solar panels rather than relying on our electrical grid. This is a huge chunk of money no matter how you slice it!
Durable and stronger homes and and structures
Let’s not mince words about it: eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious “green” products are more expensive than the brands that have an easier time fitting into our budget. However, we must consider that the former is also much more durable than the latter, which will inevitably result in a lot of savings in the long run.
This can be seen the most in building construction materials, especially those involved in the building and repair of homes. For example, recycled decking, which is made from recycled plastic and wooden fibers, have been tested to last five times longer than traditional decking.
Bamboo, a self-sustaining perennial grass that can grow up to three feet in 24 hours, is lighter than most building materials and yet has greater compressive strength than brick and concrete. The best part about it is that it grows faster than it can be harvested, meaning that there’s no danger of running out of it anytime soon, no matter how extensively it’s used.
By creating your community’s homes and structures using these eco-friendly materials, you can help save the environment while also ensuring that the homes and shelters will last for as long as they’re needed.
A self-sufficient community
It’s a fact of life that we have to rely on big companies to get us the modern conveniences and essentials we need to get through the day. However, by going green, we can help reduce our reliance on them and become more independent in our lives.
For example, taking the initiative to install solar panels in every home in your community will allow it to become less dependent on the power that companies provide you with electricity. With enough time, your community will be generating enough excess power that the same company will be paying you for that excess. There’s also the fact that if something goes wrong with the power plant, your community won’t be subjected to the same annoying and disruptive blackout that other surrounding neighborhoods will be, as you’ll have enough solar power to last you the entire time.
Let’s say you’re not quite at that level yet, in terms of going green. How about supporting your local markets rather than your nearby supermarket? By doing so, you ensure that the food-growing sector of your community continues to earn a living while also retaining the ability to keep growing natural and organic produce. Doing so also cuts down on harmful emissions, as you won’t have to travel by car just to get the fresh food you need. Your community retains its independence while helping the environment.
There are many ways to improve one’s community from the inside, with one of the major and more effective ones being able to adopt eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious practices. By doing so, not only does the community benefit hugely in the end in terms of health, sustainability, and independence from big companies, but the environment as well.
Are you thinking about buying a new car? If yes, then you may seriously want to consider getting a hybrid as there are many benefits to this type of car and more and more motorists are making the switch. Read on to discover a few of the main benefits of owning this type of vehicle.
1. Eco/Power Balance
One of the primary advantages of owning a hybrid is that you get a good balance of eco-friendly driving and power. You get the best of both worlds with a hybrid because they are more environmentally-friendly than a typical car but they also still have a lot of power, so there is no compromise on performance which is key for those that spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
2. Battery Charging
Many motorists are hesitant to make the switch to electric due to range anxiety. This is less of a concern with a hybrid because you do not need to use or own a charging point as the vehicles charge up their own batteries, meaning that you can easily travel long distances without having to worry about stopping and recharging the battery.
Reliability is key when deciding on a car and modern-day hybrids are highly reliable. The technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years as the demand has soared, so you can be sure that any hybrid vehicle that you purchase will be a car that you can rely on each and every day.
4. Running Costs
Of course, another major advantage to buying a hybrid is that you can make huge long-term savings when it comes to running costs. Hybrids consume less fuel and emit less CO2 which means that you are spending far less on petrol than a typical automobile and you will pay less in road tax, plus you will also avoid congestion charges which are on the rise and being introduced in cities up and down the country. While they can cost more to buy, you can recuperate the cost that you save on fuel and you can make the cost easier to manage with a finance deal from somewhere like Go Car Credit.
These are the main benefits to buying a hybrid car over a conventional automobile but there are many others. It is easy to see why so many motorists are now making the switch and there are many excellent models to choose from, so it should be easy to find one that fits in with your lifestyle.
The idea of biogas is anything but new. People have been experimenting with making biogas for many generations. Biogas is made by converting organic waste into energy. It’s a huge win for the environment because it utilizes what is otherwise considered waste, but it’s a big win for pocketbooks too.
Organic waste includes the byproducts of human food production (think potato peels, carrot peels, the tops of turnips, etc) but it also includes manure. Any manure is fair game, think about cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, goats — virtually any farm animal produces mounds of this each day.
This manure produces very high levels of methane gas which is horrible for the environment. By using this manure to create biogas, we remove the danger of creating heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere that raises the temperature of the entire planet. Using it for biogas production can also help to reduce global warming.
How Do We Produce Biogas?
Biogas is produced from the breakdown of organic waste in an environment that is void of oxygen. We call this environment anaerobic and the process is process is called anaerobic digestion. Two products are created from this process. One is digestate. Digestate can be used for fertilizer and even as livestock bedding. The other product is biogas. Biogas can be used for heating, electricity production and as a clean vehicle fuel.
It’s essentially like composting all of the materials, but in an environment without oxygen and in the temperature range of around 35 to 40 degrees Celsius and pH of around 7. This is optimal to produce biogas. Biogas can be converted into an upgraded form of gas by removal of carbon dioxide that can be used like natural gas. It can be used as-is as an engine fuel. It can be used as fuel in a vehicle, sometimes without modification.
How Can You Produce Your Own Biogas?
Just imagine being on your own off-grid property, running a hundred head of cattle, growing your own food and canning it. You’ve got meat covered, your food is stocked and you are prepared for just about anything. But what about fuel? Imagine what a game-changer it could be if you were able to produce your own fuel from the waste from your cattle and your garden scraps or food residuals! You can!
The Biogas Digester makes it possible, and fairly easy, for you to start producing your own biogas. Buy a ready-made biodigester for around $700-$1000 dollars and start producing your own biogas to meet your fuel requirements. They are containers designed to do the work for you and help you collect the fruits of your composted and digested waste.
Build your own! China has approximately 30 million Biodigesters in use in its rural areas. Rural Chinese areas are far removed from cities that have gas stations. It simply isn’t accessible as it is in the US. Many rural people have learned to make their own biodigesters to fill their fuel needs.
You need a tank that is sealed with an access hole on one side for adding organic waste. You have another access to an outlet. That is where you collect the liquid run-off that can be used for fuel.
The bottom of the main unit is the digestion chamber. From that is an outlet where the digestate can be collected and used as fertilizer. The main chamber typically has a domed top to allow for the room that will be necessary for the expansion of the gases formed inside. By being sealed, the unit creates that all-important anaerobic environment.
A tank that demonstrates the size and simplicity of a tank that can be purchased and used in the backyard.
Residential heating is essential to the comfort and even health of the occupants of a house during winter. The core of any heating system is the furnace, which in most homes is located somewhere outside the main house or in the basement. This is so as to keep it out of the way but also for safety purposes. Whether you are moving into a new place and have to install a new furnace or you just wish to overhaul your current one, there are considerations to make before you go to the shop.
Types of Furnaces
Broadly speaking, there are two available types of furnaces. There is the traditional furnace and the two stage furnace. The traditional furnace, also called the single stage furnace, is either full on or completely off. This is to say that when it is on, it operates at maximum heat output and there is no way to regulate that because there is no provision for medium heat.
The two stage furnace is an improvement of this. In one setting, it can run like the traditional furnace but in the other, it allows for a reduced heat output when the temperature is not very low. If puzzling over which furnace to buy between these two, consider the following advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-stage Furnace
A two stage furnace is considered quieter. This is because it runs at a functionality of 75-80 percent most of the time. Lower fan speed means less noise. It maintains a more constant temperature without dips and spikes. This kind of furnace also saves energy because it runs on the lower setting most of the time. Even with these advantages, it is said to have two key disadvantages:
High upfront costs – It was made to improve upon the traditional furnace. It is therefore comes as no surprise that it is more expensive than the traditional furnace.
It breaks down more often – Unlike a traditional furnace which goes off when the weather is moderate to warm, a two stage furnace keeps running at that low setting. Running almost constantly causes wear and tear and may lead to frequent breakdowns.
Advantages of Traditional Furnace
It may not be possible to regulate the level of heating with a traditional furnace. However, it is the go to furnace when working on a budget because it is cheaper. It also breaks down less often than the two stage furnace. Besides, modern single stage furnaces have been remodeled to make them energy efficient. This should go a long way to reduce heating costs.
Other factors to consider before purchasing a furnace are:
Type of fuel – If you have no gas connection or if it is interrupted often, you might want to go for an electric furnace instead of a gas furnace.
Prevailing weather – Consider where you live. If it is customary to have extremely cold winters, then the traditional furnace might be the best because you will have no need for the low heat setting.
The type of furnace you install should be determined by the heating needs of your household and those in it. Seek the help of a contractor so that they can advise on the appropriate type and even size of furnace.
Access to clean, affordable and renewable energy is a prerequisite for sustainable development of mankind, and refugees are no exception. Refugee camps across the world house more than 65 million people, and almost all refugee camps are plagued by fuel poverty. Needless to say, urgent measure are required to make camps livable and sustainable.
Rapid advancements in renewable energy technologies have made it possible to deploy such systems on various scales. The scalability potential of renewable energy systems makes them well-suited for refugee camps, especially in conflict-afflicted areas of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Renewable energy in refugee camps can be made available in the form of solar energy, biomass energy and wind energy. Solar panels, solar cooking units, solar lanterns, biomass cookstoves and biogas plants are some of the popular renewable energy technologies that can improve living standards in refugee camps. It is important to focus on specific needs of refugees and customization of technology towards local conditions. For example, solar technologies are better understood than biogas systems in Jordan.
Solar energy can provide long-term resilience to people living in refugee camps. With many camps effectively transformed into full-fledged towns and cities, it is essential to harness the power of sun to run these camps smoothly. Solar cookers, solar lanterns and solar water heaters are already being used in several refugee camps, and focus has now shifted to grid-connected solar power projects.
The 5MW Azraq solar project is the world’s first grid-connected renewable energy project to be established in a refugee camp. The project is being funded entirely by Ikea through the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign. The program, now in its third year, seeks to improve the lives of refugees around the world by providing access to sustainable energy supplies.
Due to lack of land and resources, refugee camps puts tremendous pressure on natural vegetation, especially supply of fuel wood to camp-dwellers. Replacement of traditional stoves with efficient biomass-fired cook stoves can save as much as 80% of cooking fuel.
Instead of wood, it would be also be a good option to use agricultural wastes, like husk and straw. Another interesting proposition for refugee camps is to set up small-scale DIY biogas plants, based on human wastes and food residuals. The biogas produced can be used as a cooking medium as well as for power/heat generation.
Small wind turbines can also play a key role in providing energy to dwellers of refugee camps. Such turbines are used for micro-generation and can provide power from 1kW to 300kW. Majority of small wind turbines are traditional horizontal axis wind turbines but vertical axis wind turbines are a growing type of wind turbine in the small wind market. Small wind turbines are usually mounted on a tower to raise them above any nearby obstacles, and can sited in refugee camps experiencing wind speeds of 4m/s or more.
Solar lights in Azraq Refugee Camp (Jordan)
Renewable energy systems have the potential to improve living standards in refugee camps and ease the sufferings of displaced and impoverished communities. Solar panels, biogas system, biomass stoves and micro wind turbines are some of the renewable energy systems that can be customized for refugee camps and transform them into a less harsh place for displaced people.
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